Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that his office collected $19,428,426.20 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2015. Of this amount, $9,337,630.59 was collected in criminal actions and $10,090,795.61 was collected in civil actions.
Additionally, the Southern District of Illinois worked with other United States Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $36,117,452.46 in cases pursued jointly with these offices. Of this amount, $14,468.49 was collected in criminal actions and $36,102,983.97 was collected in civil actions.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced on Thursday, December 3, 2015, that the Justice Department collected $23.1 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015. The more than $23.1 billion in collections in FY 2015 represents more than seven and a half times the approximately $2.93 billion of the Justice Department’s combined appropriations for the 93 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.
“The Department of Justice is committed to upholding the rule of law, safeguarding taxpayer resources, and protecting the American people from exploitation and abuse,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “The collections we are announcing today demonstrate not only the strength of that commitment, but also the significant return on public investment that our actions deliver. I want to thank the prosecutors and trial attorneys who made this achievement possible, and to reiterate our dedication to this ongoing work.”
“My Office will not stop in its efforts to collect monies owed the United States. The honest and law-abiding citizens of Southern Illinois deserve no less than our best efforts, and, I can assure them that they will continue to receive those best efforts on their behalf. As always, no legal avenue to collect debts owed the United States will go unused.” noted United States Attorney Wigginton.
As examples, United States Attorney Wigginton highlighted that his office recovered over $7.75 million dollars from a mortgage fraud case in the Carbondale area and a joint collection of over $25 million dollars from fraud in contracts out of Scott Air Force Base.
Individual United States Attorneys’ Offices, along with the department’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the United States and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims. The law requires defendants to pay restitution to victims of certain federal crimes who have suffered a physical injury or financial loss. While restitution is paid to the victim, criminal fines and felony assessments are paid to the department’s Crime Victims’ Fund, which distributes the funds to state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.
The largest civil collections were from affirmative civil enforcement cases, in which the United States recovered government money lost to fraud or other misconduct or collected fines imposed on individuals and/or corporations for violations of federal health, safety, civil rights or environmental laws. In addition, civil debts were collected on behalf of several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service, Small Business Administration and Department of Education.
Finally, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois, working with partner agencies and divisions, collected $537,950.00 in asset forfeiture actions in FY 2015. Forfeited assets deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.